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Broc Pagni, senior health science major, hands his resume to Camelot representative Amanda Wisse at the Job Fair in the Convocation Center. Pagni was interested in Camelot’s Therapeutic Day School positions.

By Danny Cozzi

Graduating from college into the real world is like riding down the tallest drop on a roller coaster: You work up to that one rushing moment and hope you don’t fly off the cart to the ground.

The ground, of course, is unemployment, not sudden death.

The best ways to avoid the hard, jobless ground are to make sure your resume is memorable, your LinkedIn profile is up to date and you’re seeking out the right employers.

For a long time I thought I was going to graduate an entire year late. To my shock — and my checking account’s relief — an adviser informed me in December I was on track to graduate in May. My apparent lack of attention to the details of my academic progress made that surprise rather terrifying.

Now, I wasn’t rocking back and forth crying hysterically in a dark corner thinking I’d never get out of here. Instead, my muffled sobs and tear-stained memory foam pillow came from realizing I’ll be desperately searching for a job much sooner than I thought. I was doomed to be a penniless, worthless bag of bones wallowing in self-pity forever.

Luckily, despite my hauntingly bleak outlook on life after college, I only cried for 20 minutes and then took action: I got feedback on my resume from internship coordinator Cathy Doederlein, updated my LinkedIn and started asking working friends and family members how to avoid post-college blues.

Brian Pillsbury, assistant director for Team Supervision at Career Services, gave me some tips on how to prepare for the dreaded job hunt that noone wants to endure. “Start early,” Pillsbury said. “Some students think ‘OK, I’ll get started on the job search after spring break,’ but that is actually kind of late in the process.”

Pillsbury is arguing against procrastination, which is something nearly every college student knows how to do well. But there’s a difference between writing your Shakespeare term paper the night before it’s due — guilty — and putting off the job search.

So, what can an aimless pre-grad do to prepare for the real world? Well, Doederlein has a few tips on how you can bulk up your resume, too.

“Leading with the education is what’s going to make the student stand out,” Doederlein said.

Though a college degree doesn’t always feel like a leg up compared to other experience, having that diploma is a huge advantage. Doederlein said adding coursework to your resume that’s relevant to the job you want can be a big help.

A 2011 study from the National Center for Education Statistics said “…young adults with a bachelor’s degree consistently had higher median earnings than those with less education.”

In fact, the study showed young adults whom have a bachelor’s degree or higher on average earn more than $12,000 a year compared to those with less education.

Even though people may question the benefits of a college degree in a time when they are outrageously expensive, I’m sticking firm to the belief — and the numbers — that it beats only having a high school diploma in the long run.

But, even a four-year college graduate can struggle with finding a job. I know friends who went more than a year after graduation without a job.

It’s important to remember there’s more to finding a career than having an education.

“I think LinkedIn is very important. It’s something that is becoming more and more relevant to the job search,” Pillsbury said.

LinkedIn is the Facebook of building connections in the working world, and (hopefully) doesn’t have all the grammar-neglected statuses and drunken selfies with your friends.

Education is important, but it takes more than a degree to track down the career you want.

“Networking is always going to be the most important way to find a job,” Pillsbury said.

I think that’s the best advice for any job-seeking college graduate. Take advantage of the connections you have and build your network. Meeting the right people is the key to meeting your potential new boss.

Pillsbury and Doederlein encouraged students to attend the Internship Fair on Feb. 18 and Full-time Job Fair on Feb. 19.

Both events are tailored to help students meet the right employers and find the right career.

So, if you’re still panicking its OK, it forces you to quickly act.